Tag Archives: parks

That time of year again

2 Jun

Two days ago I caught a whiff of a sweet fragrance as we set out on our morning dog walk. Yesterday it was clear it was the linden blossoms of one particular tree that gets a lot of sun. Today it reminded to let you know — it must be June, the linden trees are out.

Happy June!

This year’s flower pick

7 May

Every year the MA 42 (the “Magistratsabteiling” of the City of Vienna responsible for public parks and gardens) choose certain mixtures of flowers that they plant everywhere. The daffodils and red tulips are gone, but these have come out. I have no idea what they are (I am the kind person who is happy to work in a garden as long as someone else tells me what to do), but they are tall (about a foot and a half) and look like something out of Dr. Seuss, if you ask me. Fun.

A message for the Second Day of Christmas

26 Dec
Message on a park bench

Walking with Maylo in the park on this chilly (down over 10°C from yesterday!) morning I came across this message. Wanted to share it with you.

Happy Second Day of Christmas! 🙂

A blackbird’s song

18 Mar

There’s a bird whose song I’ve been delighting in on our morning walk. He sits on an old TV antenna atop a roof and fills the morning air with what sounds like rapture.

I thought he was a thrush but also, thinking of Romeo and Juliet, considered that he might be a lark. I even wondered if he might be a nightingale.
This morning I decided to find out so I checked out the bird songs from all those birds, and a few others, on YouTube. (Technology is good for some things. ;-)) None of the songs seemed quite right. Then YouTube suggested the song of the “Amsel” (blackbird) and that was it! 🙂 Wikipedia then informed me that a blackbird is part of the thrush family (as is, I believe, the nightingale), which made me feel I wasn’t entirely wrong.
A nice way to start the day, including having a bit of time this morning to go down this particular rabbit hole. 🙂

The Color of Politics in Vienna

24 Sep

I can’t help thinking that the choice of color here is not random. Vienna is voting on October 11 and I can imagine that many of the people who work for the parks and gardens department are at least originally Social Democrats. (As I have observed before, it’s not called Red Vienna for nothing. ;-))

Will the ante be upped?

19 Mar

There was some question today whether the parks would be closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. A friend of mine was quite worked up about it because–as so often happens–the people who were behaving carelessly were ruining things for the rest of us. (She said people had been partying in the park near her.)

Given that this was hanging over our heads, I checked the news especially before going out with Maylo this afternoon and saw that the Minister of Health had specifically said that parks were not (yet) going to be closed. Nonetheless, it was hard to miss the police present in one of the parks we often walk in. Three police officers just keeping an eye on the distance between people and occasionally speaking to pairs or trios, asking them to move farther away from each other.

Because I was alone with Maylo they didn’t say anything to me. We even were able to sit in the sun a bit. Then there came the announcement over the bullhorn, “Hier ist die Polizei. Bitte gehen Sie nach Hause.” (“This is the police. Please go home.”) Slowly, reluctantly, people got up and started to shuffle, more or less, home. It was only when Maylo and I were about halfway home that I realized they were almost certainly talking to a specific group of people, no doubt behaving carelessly. They only said it once and did not do a tour of the park.

We shall see where we go from here.

Rooseveltplatz

26 Jul

What a concise reminder of bits of Viennese and Austrian history, all in one sign at the Institute for Social Sciences of the University of Vienna. They are located at what I have always known as Rooseveltplatz. Obviously, it has had different names over the years, reflecting eras and events in Austrian history.

I can guess at most (all) of them. Maximilian was Emperor Franz Josef’s brother, who had the nearby Votiv Church built. Freiheitsplatz (Freedom Square) probably expresses the hopes of the new democracy after the First World War. Dollfuss was the Austrian chancellor assassinated by National Socialists in July 1934. Hermann-Göring-Platz is sadly self-explanatory. And then Freiheitsplatz again until it was named after the U.S. President Roosevelt.

Interesting!

MA 42 a.k.a. das Gartenamt

8 May

The Parks and Gardens Department in Vienna have pretty much declared summer. They have put out their summer flowers along with a welcome addition of the last few years–a sign telling you what is growing in the bed. One thing I greatly enjoy is watching the flowers grow and fill out until they reach their peak in the fall. 🙂

A new corner of Vienna

26 Oct

Somehow I find myself avoiding my usual corners of Vienna, like Neuwaldegg or Nussberg. They’ve been so crowded recently that I’ve hardly enjoyed my walks there with Maylo. I think it’s great that so many people are out in our beautiful fall weather getting some exercise and fresh air. I just don’t want to share the space with all of them. It isn’t very restful.

Today, on the Nationalfeiertag (celebration of Austria’s neutrality clause after the Second World War), Maylo and I followed up a tip from another dog person and took the U1 out to its new (to me) terminus, Oberlaa, where there’s a clinic / spa with thermal waters.

 

My ancient (1988) Baedeker’s Austria tells me that the Kurzentrum Wien-Oberlaa is a “spa treatment establishment” opened in 1974, a date that doesn’t surprise me as it showed up constantly on the various signs in the Kurpark. The site was the scene of the Vienna International Garden Show in 1974, and a number of attractions in this 860,000-square-meter green space, like the sculpture on the Rosenhügel or the Japanese garden, date back from that year.

 

Unlike many of Germany and Austria’s spa towns, Oberlaa does not seem to have a long history of people taking the waters there in spite of the fact that they, according to my Baedeker’s, have one of the strongest and hottest sulfur springs in Austria. (I figured out about the sulfur without Baedeker’s help. You smell it the moment you get out of the underground station.) So it’s not very traditional but they wasted no time in establishing two things essential to any Kurort: the park and a famous patisserie.

The park, true to Kurparks everywhere, is a carefully controlled environment suitable to people being treated for various maladies. There are paved paths, railings, lots of benches to rest on, carefully tended flowerbeds and lawns, and completely tamed bodies of water. It’s also suitable for people staying for several weeks at a time, providing different attractions like a petting zoo, restaurants, different kinds of gardens including an allergy garden(!), and, no doubt, somewhere a gazebo for concerts on fine days. We wouldn’t want people to get bored while they’re being treated!

 

Maylo and I didn’t make it to the patisserie, Kurkonditorei Oberlaa, but we wandered about the park and enjoyed ourselves, catching the impressively clean and quick U1 back into town when we had had enough.

Our excursion has inspired me to start a new practice. I’m going to try to get around to all the underground stations in Vienna to see what is there, focusing especially on those stations I don’t go to regularly. Look for more under the tag “U-Bahn stations”.

A note for my readers not familiar with the Austrian concept of Kur. A Kur is a stay, usually about three weeks, at a nice, although sometimes somewhat clinical, hotel at a place with special springs where various medical conditions are treated. Several of my friends have been on Kur for intensive physiotherapy. It’s almost de rigeur after major surgery. And sometimes it is prescribed simply because people are feeling run down. It sounds like something for rich people and did use to be. The aristocracy of Europe used to run into each other at Kurorte all over Germany and Austria and similar places of healing in Switzerland (those sanatoriums!). These days, though, it is prescribed through the national health system here and patients pay only a tiny daily rate based on their income. There’s something (else) to be said for social democracy.

This means that a Kurort is a town with such an establishment, a Kurpark is a park attached to such an establishment, and a Kurkonditorei is a Konditorei or patisserie especially associated with such an establishment, essential because the Austrians, on the whole, have never been all that good at denying themselves the pleasures of life if they could help it.

Pentecost Monday (holiday)

21 May

I found myself early-ish this morning, about 20 minutes on foot from Stephansplatz, the heart of the city, walking along in peace and quiet with a thrush singing from a rooftop on my right and a dove cooing in the park on my left. My heart sang along.